What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider
You may want to ask your provider:
- What type of breast cancer recurrence do I have?
- Has the cancer spread outside the breast?
- What stage is the breast cancer?
- What is the best treatment for this type of breast cancer?
- What are the treatment risks and side effects?
- Should I look out for signs of complications?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Most breast cancer recurrences respond well to treatments. You may be able to try new drugs or combination therapies in development in clinical trials. Your healthcare provider can discuss the best treatment option based on your unique situation.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/24/2021.
How Does Staging Relate To Types Of Breast Cancer
In addition to cancer stage, doctors will determine the tumor grade and subtype.
Tumors are graded on a scale of 1 to 3, based on how abnormal the cells appear compared to normal cells. The higher the grade, the more aggressive the cancer, meaning that it tends to be growing quickly.
The subtype is important because treatment and outlook will vary depending on which subtype of breast cancer that you have. Subtypes include:
Probability Of Cancer Progression
How long the remission period can last is one of the most frequently asked questions by patients with stage 4 breast cancer. The answer to this question depends on a number of factors that come in.
First, tumors may have a different tendency to grow. Slowly growing tumors mean longer remission and longer life expectancy. Second, age is important. In young patients, cancer tends to be more aggressive and resistant to treatment. Third, the localization of metastases plays an important role. Metastasis to bone or lymphatic tissue is a more prognostic option for treatment than lung, liver, and especially brain damage.
Another very important factor is the tumors responsiveness to the therapy. In women with hormone-positive breast cancer, in which the tumor reacts well to hormone therapy, life expectancy can be 10-15 years, even taking into account the 4th stage of the disease. For comparison, the life expectancy of patients with metastatic triple-negative breast cancer is only one year.
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More Information About The Tnm Staging System
The T category describes the original tumor:
- TX means the tumor can’t be assessed.
- T0 means there isn’t any evidence of the primary tumor.
- Tis means the cancer is “in situ” .
- T1, T2, T3, T4: These numbers are based on the size of the tumor and the extent to which it has grown into neighboring breast tissue. The higher the T number, the larger the tumor and/or the more it may have grown into the breast tissue.
The N category describes whether or not the cancer has reached nearby lymph nodes:
- NX means the nearby lymph nodes can’t be assessed, for example, if they were previously removed.
- N0 means nearby lymph nodes do not contain cancer.
- N1, N2, N3: These numbers are based on the number of lymph nodes involved and how much cancer is found in them. The higher the N number, the greater the extent of the lymph node involvement.
The M category tells whether or not there is evidence that the cancer has traveled to other parts of the body:
- MX means metastasis can’t be assessed.
- M0 means there is no distant metastasis.
- M1 means that distant metastasis is present.
Clinical Manifestations Of Stage 4
The main classification signs of breast cancer stage 4 are its spread to remote organs or lymph nodes. The size of the tumor at this stage is no longer important moreover, it may no longer be detected at the primary site.
It is the metastases that most often develop in the liver, lungs, and bones that give information about the development of the oncological process. They are painful and cause vivid symptoms. Metastases in the liver give jaundice and increase abdominal size. Metastases in the lungs give shortness of breath, and in the bones severe pain and frequent fractures.
- severe intoxication
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Is Inoperable Breast Cancer Still Treatable
Although stage 3C breast cancer is defined as either operable or inoperable, an inoperable diagnosis doesnt necessarily mean that it cant be treated.
The term inoperable may mean that all the cancer in the breast and surrounding tissue cant be removed through simple surgery. When breast cancer is removed, a rim of healthy tissue around the tumor, called a margin, is also removed.
For breast cancer to be successfully removed, there needs to be healthy tissue in all margins of the breast, from your clavicle down to a few inches below the breast mound.
It is possible for inoperable breast cancer to become operable following a treatment to shrink the cancer.
Outlook By Hr And Her2 Status
Outlook also varies based on tumor characteristics, such as subtype.
For example, here are the 5-year relative survival rates for different combinations of HR and HER2 status:
- 92% for HR-positive, HER2-negative cancer
- 89% for HR-positive, HER2-positive cancer
- 83% for HR-negative, HER2-positive cancer
- 77% for HR-negative, HER2-negative cancer
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What Is Stage Iii Breast Cancer
In stage III breast cancer, the cancer has spread further into the breast or the tumor is a larger size than earlier stages. It is divided into three subcategories.
Stage IIIA is based on one of the following:
- With or without a tumor in the breast, cancer is found in four to nine nearby lymph nodes.
- A breast tumor is larger than 50 millimeters, and the cancer has spread to between one and three nearby lymph nodes.
In stage IIIB, a tumor has spread to the chest wall behind the breast. In addition, these factors contribute to assigning this stage:
- Cancer may also have spread to the skin, causing swelling or inflammation.
- It may have broken through the skin, causing an ulcerated area or wound.
- It may have spread to as many as nine underarm lymph nodes or to nodes near the breastbone.
In stage IIIC, there may be a tumor of any size in the breast, or no tumor present at all. But either way, the cancer has spread to one of the following places:
- ten or more underarm lymph nodes
- lymph nodes near the collarbone
- some underarm lymph nodes and lymph nodes near the breastbone
- the skin
Side Effects And Complications
Its important to tell your oncologist about all symptoms, even if they seem minor. Your healthcare team will work with you to ease side effects and deal with complications.
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What Does Stage 3 Mean
Because stage 3 breast cancer has spread outside the breast, it can be harder to treat than earlier stage breast cancer, though that depends on a few factors.
With aggressive treatment, stage 3 breast cancer is curable however, the risk that the cancer will grow back after treatment is high.
Doctors further divide stage 3 cancer into the following stages:
Distant Breast Cancer Recurrence
Distant breast cancer recurrence is when the cancer has spread to another organ within the body. Breast cancer that has spreadalso called metastatic breast canceris no longer curable and needs to be managed as a chronic disease. There are various treatment options to control the cancer and stop its progression, prolonging a patients life and improving quality of life. These treatments may include:
- Small molecule inhibitors
- Clinical trials
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Invasive Ductal Carcinoma Stages
Invasive ductal carcinoma stages provide physicians with a uniform way to describe how far a patients cancer may have spread beyond its original location in a milk duct. This information can be helpful when evaluating treatment options, but it is not a prognostic indicator in and of itself. Many factors can influence a patients outcome, so the best source of information for understanding a breast cancer prognosis is always a physician who is familiar with the patients case.
In general, breast cancer stages are established based on three key variables: the size of a tumor, the extent of lymph node involvement and whether the cancer has spread to other areas of the body. This information may be obtained through a combination of clinical examinations, imaging studies, blood tests, lymph node removal and tissue samples . If, based on the initial test results, a physician believes that the cancer may have spread to other parts of the body, further testing may be ordered, such as a bone scan, positron emission tomography scan or liver function test.
Invasive ductal carcinoma is usually described through a numeric scale ranging from 1 to 4 . Specifically, the invasive ductal carcinoma stages are:
If youd like to learn more about invasive ductal carcinoma stages and treatment options, call or complete a new patient registration form online.
How Can I Prevent Breast Cancer Recurrence
Healthcare providers dont know why some people experience breast cancer recurrence. A recurrence isnt your fault. You didnt do anything wrong to cause it or fail to do something more to prevent it.
Certain medications may reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence in people who have early stage breast cancer. For estrogen-receptive breast cancer, hormonal therapies including tamoxifen or aromatase inhibitors block either the activity of estrogen or the bodys production of estrogen. Chemotherapy may also be recommended to reduce risk of breast cancer recurrence.
Early diagnosis may make it easier to treat a recurrence. Follow your healthcare providers recommendations for mammograms and other screenings. You should also perform regular breast self-exams. Get familiar with how your breasts look and feel so you can see your provider quickly if you notice changes. And remember that most breast changes occur for reasons other than cancer.
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Mortality Rates Versus Number Of Breast Cancer Deaths
Sometimes its useful to have an estimate of the number of people expected to die from breast cancer in a year. This numbers helps show the burden of breast cancer in a group of people.
Numbers, however, can be hard to compare to each other. To compare mortality in different populations, we need to look at mortality rates rather than the number of breast cancer deaths.
What Are The Options For Stage 3 Breast Cancer
Treatment options for stage 3 breast cancer may include: Surgery, known as a mastectomy, to remove cancerous tissue and also to remove lymph nodes. Radiation to target and/or kill or shrink cancerous cells or a tumor. Hormone therapy to slow or stop the growth of cancerous cells, if hormones are driving their growth.
Survival And Mortality Rates
Survival depends on mortality. You start with 100 percent of the people in the group.
100 percent mortality rate = survival rate
Say, the mortality rate in the group of people is 5 percent. Survival would be 95 percent .
Similarly, the number of people in a group who survive depends on the number of people who die. Say, 500 people are in the group and 1 person dies. This means 499 people survived .
What To Do With Stage 2 Breast Cancer
Stage II cancers are typically larger than stage I cancers and/or have spread to nearby lymph nodes. Like stage I cancers, stage II cancers are typically treated with local therapies such as surgery or radiation therapy. Stage II cancer is determined in the five most common cancers in the following way: Stage II breast cancer
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What Is Stage Iv Breast Cancer
Stage IV is the most advanced stage of breast cancer. It has spread to nearby lymph nodes and to distant parts of the body beyond the breast. This means it possibly involves your organs such as the lungs, liver, or brain or your bones.
Breast cancer may be stage IV when it is first diagnosed, or it can be a recurrence of a previous breast cancer that has spread.
Treating Stage Iii Breast Cancer
In stage III breast cancer, the tumor is large or growing into nearby tissues , or the cancer has spread to many nearby lymph nodes.
If you have inflammatory breast cancer: Stage III cancers also include some inflammatory breast cancers that have not spread beyond nearby lymph nodes. Treatment of these cancers can be slightly different from the treatment of other stage III breast cancers. You can find more details in our section about treatment for inflammatory breast cancer.
There are two main approaches to treating stage III breast cancer:
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How Is Breast Cancer Recurrence Managed Or Treated
Your treatment depends on the type of cancer recurrence, as well as past treatments. If cancer develops in a reconstructed breast, your surgeon may want to remove the breast implant or skin flap.
Treatments for local and regional breast cancer recurrence may include:
- Mastectomy: Your surgeon removes the affected breast and sometimes lymph nodes.
- Chemotherapy:Chemotherapy circulates in blood, killing cancer cells.
- Hormone therapy:Tamoxifen and other hormone therapies treat cancers that thrive on estrogen .
- Immunotherapy:Immunotherapy engages your bodys immune system to fight cancer.
- Radiation therapy: High-energy X-ray beams damage and destroy cancer cells.
- Targeted therapy: Treatments target specific cancer cell genes or proteins.
Is Stage 3 Breast Cancer Completely Curable
What does stage 3 mean? Because stage 3 breast cancer has spread outside the breast, it can be harder to treat than earlier stage breast cancer, though that depends on a few factors. With aggressive treatment, stage 3 breast cancer is curable however, the risk that the cancer will grow back after treatment is high.
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Neoadjuvant And Adjuvant Systemic Therapy
For women who have a hormone receptor-positive breast cancer, most doctors will recommend hormone therapy as an adjuvant treatment, no matter how small the tumor is. Women with tumors larger than 0.5 cm across may be more likely to benefit from it. Hormone therapy is typically given for at least 5 years.
If the tumor is larger than 1 cm across, chemo after surgery is sometimes recommended. A woman’s age when she is diagnosed may help in deciding if chemo should be offered or not. Some doctors may suggest chemo for smaller tumors as well, especially if they have any unfavorable features .
After surgery, some women with HER2-positive cancers will be treated with trastuzumab for up to 1 year.
Many women with HER2-positive cancers will be treated with trastuzumab followed by surgery and more trastuzumab for up to 1 year. If after neoadjuvant therapy, residual cancer is found during surgery, trastuzumab may be changed to a different drug, called ado-trastuzumab emtansine, which is given every 3 weeks for 14 doses. If hormone receptor-positive cancer is found in the lymph nodes, your doctor might recommend one year of trastuzumab followed by additional treatment with an oral drug called neratinib for 1 year.
What Is The Risk For Breast Cancer Recurrence
Key factors are the type and location of the recurrence. The highest risk of recurrence for breast cancer patients is during the first two years following treatment. At the Johns Hopkins Breast Center, our team of breast cancer specialists monitors patients very closely for those first two years. Some patients may be monitored longer, depending on the stage of their disease and other prognostic factors about their breast cancer. Your risk of recurrence is never zero however, as more time passes, your risk goes down. Read about the 10 lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your risk for breast cancer recurrence
MYTH: If Ive had a mastectomy, I cannot have a breast cancer recurrence. Get the facts.
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Treatments For Stage 2 Breast Cancer
The following are treatment options for ductal carcinoma and lobular carcinoma. Doctors consider stage 2A to be early stage breast cancer. Stage 2B is considered to be locally advanced breast cancer. Your healthcare team will suggest treatments based on your needs and work with you to develop a treatment plan.
But Some Of The Symptoms Are:
The stages of colon cancer are between 0-4.
Stage 0 is the earliest and in this only surgery is needed.
But after stage 0 and 1 if any person diagnosed with stage 2 then the question arises
Is stage 2 being curable in colon cancer?
It can be curable and it all depends on your willpower and the surgeon you choose. Cancer is not that disease in which you take your own precautions. So, in this you required the best surgeon, therefore, you can treat yourself in better wat and also in low-risk. So, here is your chance to get the best treatment in Jaipur Rajasthan and make an appointment with the best medical oncologist.
Further, stage 2 has classified into three parts i.e.
Most cancers havent unfounded the lymph nodes or close-by tissue. It has reached the outer layers of the colon however it hasnt absented.
The Cancer isnt spread to the lymph node but has grown even through the outer layer of the colon.
Most cancers arent observed in nearby lymph nodes, however further to growing through the outer layer of the colon, it has grown to close by organs or structures.
So, this is how stage 2 has been identified into three different parts.
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